Facebook is in the news even more than usual as it prepares for its IPO. Hard to believe that a service launched only eight years ago now reportedly has more than eight million users and has become an integral part of many of our lives.
Facebook is an amazing way to stay in touch with long distance friends, to reconnect with peeps from our past. But more and more, many take the ease of use and 24/7 availablity of FB too far. Are you one of the people who, whenever anything of note (or not of note) happens, immediately compose a status update in your head and have the urge to post ASAP? How many times a day do you hop on?
Can you go a single day without using FB–without catching up with friends and “friends,” sharing personal or newsy notes, or commenting or liking? How about a day without talking about it? I’d bet most regular users can’t go a day without thinking about it.
Do you know how long you spend on FB? Or do you get so caught up in watching videos, linking to articles that link to more articles, or commenting on comments you don’t even notice how much time has gone by? Do you get disappointed if a post you think particularly clever or interesting fails to draw enough attention? If you while away hours on FB, how do you get your work done and make room in your day for personal interaction?
Many people now carry on entire conversations via FB, email or texting. They’d rather type their thoughts than pick up the phone. Just planning to meet a friend for coffee results in an extended back and forth that could be resolved in a short call.
Despite the use of emoticons, the printed is unable to capture many elements of communication. We may feel a surge of validation, gain satisfaction from FB friends’ responses. But what are we losing in terms of personal connection?